One of the wonderful things about authentic Irish jewelry is that each piece is hallmarked at the Assay Office in Dublin Castle. Since 1637, hallmarking has been Irish law, used to ensure the quality of each piece. This office is run by the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin, and they are charged with authenticating all silver, gold, and platinum jewelry.
There are three components in each hallmark:
- The makers or sponsors mark
- The mark of the Dublin Assay Office
- The mark attesting to the fineness of the metal (Also known as the purity mark)
On rings, the hallmark is normally located on the inside of the band. The same applies to bracelets and bangles. For pendants, applying the hallmark is a little more difficult, as you don’t want it to detract from the beauty of the piece. It is often applied to the “bail” of the piece, and is normally very small!
In the image below, you’ll see some examples of the Irish jewelry hallmarks for silver, gold, and platinum. The “Date Letter” changes each year – signifying the year that the piece was created and hallmarked.
We often get questions on the hallmark, and I hope this proved of some help. It is one of the reasons that genuine Irish jewelry is worth the slight wait!